The Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has called for more involvement of religious leaders in tackling security challenges facing the nation.
Onaiyekan made this appeal at the Annual Lecture and Induction of Full Members by the Institute of Security and Strategic Studies (ISSS), during the weekend in Abuja.
The theme of the lecture is “Modalities of Handling Protest Against Government Policies and Programmes in Nigeria: the Analytical Approach”.
A total of 40 new members were inducted into the membership of the institute during the annual lecture.
He said that issue of national security was everybody’s business, adding that every sector of the society including the international community, has a role to play.
“In this context, you must also find what specific areas religious leaders are expected to make contributions.
“Religious leaders are supposed to be the conscience of the nation.
“You should allow them to preach and preach freely. They also have the right to criticise when necessary government policies that they believe are not working well.
“The thing is that this kind of participation of religious leaders will not just come naturally by itself, it must be organised.
“For religious leaders to work with the government, government must create the environment and empowerment to do it.
“It can be as simple as having a committee or finding some ways even within our rank, to have a group that will be invited by government to certain meetings where security is discussed,” he said.
Onaiyekan stressed the need to bring both Christians and Muslims together to find lasting solutions to the security challenges confronting the country.
He said that government sometimes hand-picked the religious leaders they would want to work with, saying such style had not worked.
“It is not enough to rely on the chaplains that you have in armed forces where you have military chaplains in the army, air force, because their job is different from what we are talking about.
“So, the problem of national security is so big in Nigeria that government must be ready to think outside the box, look for new ways to bring in more stakeholders and actors so as to work together,” he added.
The cardinal therefore advised government to adopt more of non-kinetic approach towards tackling the prevailing security challenges as well as put in more efforts to bring the nation together.
On his part, the Murshid of the National Mosque, Abuja, Prof. Shehu Galadanci, said government’s efforts in the fight against insurgency and banditry was commendable but not enough.
Galadanci noted that even though the military had continued to do its best, the problem had refused to go away because of the support the criminals were getting from certain influential individuals.
He said these individuals were either supporting the terrorists and bandits with information or financing, urging government to fish out and punish the culprits accordingly.
The cleric said that terrorists groups were only using the name of Islam in their dastard acts, saying they are not Muslims.
He urged government to do more to defeat terrorism, adding that the proliferation of terrorist groups around the world had posed great threats to global peace and security.
“In Nigeria, as some people say, there might be some people who are supporting these terrorists, they are supporting the terrorist in two ways.
“One, they are giving them information about the government, they are giving them information about places, about the people, about everything.
“Two, they are also helping them with materials. Honestly, the government and the soldiers and good Nigerians are trying to get rid of all these problems, but then there are people within our society, some of them are maybe I don’t know, maybe even within the government.
“It is most unfortunate,” he said.
Also, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, represented by AVM AH Bakari, said the nation was faced with contemporary security challenges that require whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to address.
He said the military had continued to be at the forefront in the fight against insecurity across the country.
He urged the public to always support the effort of the military in tackling the scourge of terrorism, banditry and other forms of threats confronting the nation.
The Chairman, Governing Council of ISSS, retired Maj.-Gen. Garba Audu, said the lecture was designed to empower stakeholders in both public and private sectors in Nigeria security system, with a view to achieve excellent relation between the government and the governed.
Audu said the institute had over the years developed several professional courses in security, strategy and human development, attended by personnel of various security agencies.
Besides, he called on security agencies to support the innovative drive of the institute towards contributing to citizen’s security awareness and knowledge with a view to achieving a crime free environment.
Soludo Declares Curfew In Anambra, Bans Okada, Tricycles
Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, has declared curfew in eight local government areas of the state as a result of insecurity, occasioned by gunmen attacks.
The Tide source reports that Anambra State has come under serious attacks by unknown gunmen in recent times.
It would be recalled that unknown gunmen beheaded the lawmaker representing Aguata II Constituency at the state House of Assembly, Hon. Okechukwu Okoye, last week.
Okoye’s severed head was found last Saturday without his body at Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Soludo, in a statewide broadcast made on Wednesday evening, enjoined the people of the state to join hands with him to achieve his dream of making Anambra a liveable and prosperous homeland.
According to the governor, “The tiny but vicious gangs that have invaded our state and terrorising us are mostly in eight local governments in Anambra and three neighboring local governments in Imo State.
“They are in our forests, communities, and houses owned by individuals. They don’t come from the air, and hence are not “unknown” gunmen. They are known. You know them, but are either too scared to speak up or out of indifference. But for how long will you be silent while our people continue to be killed in the most cruel and barbaric manner?
“The security agencies will continue to do their part, but we the people, must proclaim that Enough is Enough and demonstrate full ownership”.
As part of ways to curb the menace, Soludo unveiled more phone numbers to be used by citizens of the state to report suspected cases of crime.
He said in the broadcast: “With effect from tomorrow, Thursday, May 26, 2022, a 6pm to 6am curfew is hereby placed on motorcycles (okada), tricycles (keke), and shuttle buses in Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Orumba North and Orumba South local governments until further notice.
“Until further notice also, motorcycles, keke and shuttle buses are banned from operating in these local governments on Mondays until the Sit-at-Home completely stops. The youths of every community in the zone are hereby enjoined to assist the security agencies in the implementation of this policy and are mandated to seize any such motorcycle or tricycle on the spot.
“Local vigilantes should report such motorcycles or tricycles (keke) immediately, and they will be confiscated by the government and the owner prosecuted. The okada, keke, and shuttle bus union leaders must take responsibility to report their members who are involved in criminal activities.
“We shall review this after two weeks, and if members of these unions continue to be involved in criminal activities, the government will have no choice but to either disband the unions and/or ban them outrightly in the state”.
The governor said further that “no part of the state shall be used as camps for criminals, and anyone with a gun in a camp will be considered a criminal in Anambra State, and the government and people will work with security agencies to flush them out”.
He also warned that the state government would revoke and acquire any land found to be harboring criminals, while enjoining every community in the state to provide information on any part of their land occupied by criminals as camps.
He said the same applies to any buildings found to be harboring kidnappers and murderers who have laid siege on the state.
Soludo also urged hoteliers in the state to always get the identity of lodgers seeking their accommodation, while fuel stations are to install CCTV cameras and keep their recordings, which will be demanded once demanded by security agencies during investigation.
NDLEA Destroys 21 Tonnes Of Drugs In Niger
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has destroyed drugs weighing 21 tonnes in Maikunkule village of Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State.
The NDLEA claimed that the destroyed drugs street value was worth more than N1 billion.
The Commander of NDLEA in the Niger State, Mr Haruna Kwetishe, said that the destruction was symbolic and in line with the NDLEA Act.
“NDLEA Act mandates us to arrest drug traffickers and dealers, seize illicit drugs and prosecute all drugs related offenders who contravene the Act and destroy seized drugs publicly, in fulfilment of this mandate.
“NDLEA Niger Command obtained court orders from Federal High Court, Minna, for the public destruction of the 21 tonnes of various types of illicit substances.
“Public destruction of drugs is therefore a continuous exercise in our quest to have a drug-free and secured society in the country and the world at large”, he said.
He said that the destroyed drugs included Cannabis Sativa, psychotropic substances and various grammes of other banned stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
“Nigeria used to be a transit port because of the activities of drug cartels that import drugs from drug producing countries to the country before smuggling same to Europe, Asia and America”, he noted.
The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, represented by the state Commissioner for Internal Security, Emmanuel Umaru, said that the security of lives and property was a cardinal focus of his administration.
FG Trains CSOs, NGOs To Monitor School Feeding Programme
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (MHADMSD) has trained members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on school feeding programme monitoring.
Speaking at the capacity building programme in Abuja, Monday, the facilitator, Dr Grace Dafiel, said that the aim of the training was to ensure effective accountability and sustainability of school feeding programme.
“The essence of the training is to ensure that CSO/NGO capacity is built to be able to monitor the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme.
“This is to help us understand how we can institutionalise the programme which is one of the four clusters of the social protections programme under the ministry.
“The CSOs involvement means that a lot of advocacy work is going to go into it, especially at the community level for the community participation ownership.
“As well as ensuring sustainability even if all odds are there, you know the government cannot do it alone, there is a need for the CSOs to come on board’, Dafiel said.
She said that after the training, they would come up with strategies that would ensure sustainability.
“Give life to the programme as well as ensure that the programme is executed in a transparent, open and accountable manner”.
One of the participants, Mr Salaudeen Hashim, stated that building the capacity of the CSOs was very crucial as they were the ones closest to the communities.
While noting that one of the key gap noticed in the programme was stakeholders’ coordination, Hashim said the training would go a long way in breaching the gap.
“This is actually a stepping stone as it will encourage stakeholders’ participation.
“It is also important to remove the issue of politicisation of the programme”, he said.
He also expressed concern over the number of out-of-school children in some parts of the country, saying that currently 9.8 million children were already benefiting from the programme.
“While there are still about 10.5 million out-of-school children in the North East, it is very necessary to get more people to enrol and participate in school feeding programme”, he said.
On her part, the Executive Director, Youth Child Support Initiative, Enugu, Mrs Ijeoma Nnaji, described the programme as a good innovation.
She said that partnering with the CSOs would aid effective monitoring of the programme at the community level and ensure accountability.
It was gathered that the capacity building workshop under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was organised for the CSOs and NGOs across 34 states.
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